Longtime Healdsburg Community Band member
Jeff Tobes, a practiced trumpet player and a superlative educator, who led legions of students like the Pied Piper through history walks and surprise-filled lessons, died Aug. 23, 2015 after a brief battle with stomach cancer. He was 68. Tobes began teaching in 1971 at Forestville Elementary School where he stayed for 30 years before finishing his teaching career at Santa Rosa City Schools. He was raised in southern California and was a devoted alumnus of UCLA. Alternately called “Mr. Tobes” and “Mr. History,” Tobes was best known for his passion in teaching, preserving and showcasing local history. His love of music was a close second and he enjoyed a 10-year stretch as a member of the Healdsburg Community Band. Tobes was born on July 11, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan to parents Albert Tobes and Florence Pawlikowski. He met his wife of 45 years, Linda, while attending UCLA. He was a champion of walking and hands-on history lessons. Each school year for Tobes ended with a 15-mile “history walk,” leading his class to a famous location, notable birthplace or battlefield. Throughout the school year, he required his young students to include physical walking in their lessons to build stamina for the longer year-end walks. “He set the bar high for his students in both academics and behavior,” fellow educator Bob Christiansen said. “He got his kids to reach for the stars.” Tobes led the effort to create an annual History Day for Sonoma County schools and he later served as vice president of the Sonoma County Historical Society. Paul Deas played trumpet with Tobes in the Healdsburg Community Band. “He was just a wonderful man, very humble and he had an infectious joy. It was a shock to lose him that suddenly. We all wanted more time to tell him what a difference he had made in so many lives.” Although diagnosed with his cancer earlier this year, Tobes continued serving as first chair trumpet player for the community band. He performed as recently as June for the band’s annual concert in the Healdsburg Plaza. Deas also recalled the many times Tobes would recruit fellow musicians to play for his classroom and students. “He’d have us show up for a history day and play while he taught about Roman history or some other subject,” Deas said. After serving a year as the Forestville school’s principal, Tobes finished his teaching career at Santa Rosa’s Helen Lehman School, where he continued his history lessons and walks. “He always inspired lots of things in his students,” said Christiansen. “He definitely went outside the boundaries.” One of Tobes’ history classes was the last to interview Mario Savio, the prominent voice of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. Another class conducted a first-person interview with baseball player Jackie Robinson’s wife. Tobes also is remembered as a man who “would rather ask forgiveness than permission.” His Forestville school principal, Scott Humble, said Tobes “got away with building reading lofts in his classroom, installing a working dark room in his classroom and erecting structures on the school grounds using genuine adobe bricks.” Tobes led epic field trips for his students that started at 6 a.m. with a ride on BART or the ferry, walking across the U.C. Berkeley campus in the morning, then on to the Stanford campus in the afternoon, with a stop in Chinatown, the Exploratorium or somewhere in between. The day would end at 7 p.m. with a walk on the Golden Gate Bridge. “He was an amazing man. His legacy is the many students who he helped with success in school and in life,” said Humble. Tobes entered many of his classes in state and national history contests, winning prizes for basing their projects on primary sources. Tobes and his students walked all over Sonoma County, to the Petaluma Adobe, Jack London State Park, Fort Ross and numerous graveyards. Later, teaching adult classes, he also led walks through San Francisco and the Bay Area. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children Katie, Eddie and Gus Tobes. Also surviving are his sisters Anna Tobes, Honey Goldfarb and Dolly Brewster; brother Melvyn Tobes and 11 nieces and nephews. Memorial services were held on Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Friedman Event Center in Santa Rosa. Tobes’ family suggests memorial contributions may be made to the Sonoma County Historical Society, P.O. Box 1373, Santa Rosa, CA. 95402 or to the Healdsburg Community Band, P.O. Box 582, Healdsburg, CA. 95448.
Alexander Sorrels Gillis
Belonged to many organizations
Al died on Aug. 23, 2015 with his family by his bedside. He was 95 years old. He is survived by his wife of almost 70 years, Ann, daughter Shirley Murray, granddaughter Cara Murray, son-in-law Gary Murray, two nephews: Michael and Paul Crouch, their families and many other relatives. Al was born in Colorado City, Texas on Nov. 12, 1919, the son of Charles A. and Natha Sorrels Gillis, who had a cotton farm. Al attended Dunn, Texas through eighth grade. When Al’s father died, Al was 12, the family moved to Barstow, Texas where sister Lois was working. Al worked hard during the Depression, pitching hay for a dollar a day and driving a truck. In December 1939, he joined the U.S. Navy for a six-year enlistment. He was honorably discharged in 1945. In September 1941, before World War II, he met Anna Maria Amaroli at a dance in San Francisco. They married on Dec. 30, 1945 in Berkeley. A recession five years after their wedding meant Al could not find work in the Bay Area, so Ann resigned from her job with the State of California and they moved back to her parent’s farm on Dutcher Creek Road. Al found work on the green chain at the Rounds Lumber Mill in Asti and the inexperienced couple started building their little cottage. In five years, daughter Shirley was born. In 1957, Al became an agent for Farmers Insurance Group and with his wife, operated an office in Cloverdale. After their marriage, Gary Murray became an agent for the same company and Shirley joined the office. This continued into the early 1980s when Al retired. During his insurance years, Al was an unpaid, elected director of the Sonoma County Grange Credit Union for 42 years. He also was a volunteer fireman for Cloverdale for 21 years, rising to the rank of captain. Al and Ann belonged to many Cloverdale organizations. When Al retired from the insurance business, he became the evening manager for Al Meador’s Foodland Supermarket on Cloverdale Blvd. until it sold. Services will be held under the direction of the military cemetery at Dixon. Any donations in Al’s honor can be made to the Cloverdale Historical Society, P.O. Box 628, Cloverdale, CA 95425, the Cloverdale Senior Center, 311 N. Main Street, Cloverdale, CA 95425 or to a group of your choice. The family thanks all who have been so kind.
Active in many local organizations
Otto Hoefler died at home on July 23 at age 97. He is survived by his daughter Bobbi Chamberlain and her partner Wes Brubacher, and his sister-in-law Dorothy Vaio. He was predeceased by his wife Ione, parents Elizabeth and Robert Hoefler and sister, Ethel Guilder. Otto was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated from Mission High School. He attended San Mateo Junior College and graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. It was while commuting to Cal by ferry that he met Ione. They married after both graduated and had a wonderful 64 years together. In July 1946, after working for several government agencies, including a short stint in the U.S. Navy, he started a 30-year career with Chevron Asphalt Company as a sales engineer in Fresno, California. He gradually worked his way up to the position of vice president and general manager, based primarily up and down the west coast, with a one year stint in the Baltimore area. Otto retired from Chevron at age 59, moved to Geyserville and set up a consulting practice. This lasted until 1982, when, at age 65, he decided to try his luck at a third career; sculpture. This he enjoyed for many years, completing his last piece in 2013. Otto and Ione traveled extensively during his retirement. He was one of the founders of the Geyserville Planning Committee and was its chairman for many years. He was a member of and active in many other organizations, including the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce, Healdsburg Friends of the Library, Healdsburg Museum and the Northern Sonoma County Republican Club. Per Otto’s request, there will be no memorial services. Contributions may be made in his name to Friends of the Healdsburg Library, 139 Piper St., Healdsburg CA 95448; Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, North County Clubs, 1400 North Dutton Ave. Ste. 14, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 or the charity of your choice. Otto’s family said they are very grateful to the caregivers who made it possible for Otto to live his last years at home. They cared for him as they would have members of their own families.
Taught at HHS for 35 years
Mark was a loving husband and partner to his wife, Judie, and a loving father to Marissa and Sabrina. Mark taught at Healdsburg High School for 35 years. He took pleasure in knowing his students as well as educating them. Mark touched and influenced many lives. Even in retirement, he missed “the kids.” At his request, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, please donate to any program that supports children or to a charity of your choice, in his name.
Patricia Donalda White
Grew up in Healdsburg
Patricia Donalda White (nee: McMillan) was born on March 29, 1938, and died on Aug. 1, 2015, with her family caring for her. She was 77. Per her wishes, Patricia was at home in Lakeside under hospice and private care. She is missed by everyone who knew her. Patricia Donalda McMillan was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, the only child of parents, Violet Ethel Glover and Angus Donald McMillan. Her early life was spent in Canada, last living in Smithers, British Columbia. During WWII, her father, in his 40s, served as a volunteer in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a telegrapher. Later, they moved to Eugene, Oregon, where her parents opened up a mom and pop corner grocery store. Pat graduated from junior high school there and, after her family moved, finished high school in Healdsburg, California, where they started a gift and music store. She became a naturalized American citizen in 1942 at the age of 16. Pat loved to imagine characters for stories and drew them as a young girl. The family still has some of her sketch books. In junior high and high school, Pat was active with the school paper (writer and editor), as she had been in Eugene. While living in Healdsburg, she worked summers at the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as a nurse’s aide and then entered Stanford University in pre-nursing, eventually graduating with honors in their graduate nursing program. Pat worked as an office nurse for a dermatology practice in San Francisco and for a senior staff surgeon at the U. C. Medical Center. She also enjoyed experiences in public health medicine and at the Palo Alto TB Sanitarium. She learned to drive a stick-shift car in those days. While at Stanford, she met a pre-med student named Stewart Andrew White (Andy) and, in 1960, they were married in San Anselm, California. They raised three sons, Timothy Andrew (born in San Francisco), Michael Sean (born in Sands, Michigan) and Christopher Todd (born in Rochester, Minnesota). Eventually, the family moved to Santa Rosa, California, where Andy was in practice for several years. From there, the family moved to Tucson, Arizona. While in Tucson, Pat returned to school obtaining her Master of Library Science degree at the University of Arizona and her teacher’s credential at a local college. She did some substitute teaching, but far more enjoyed her time spent as a school librarian, setting up her school library’s first computer system, even though she wasn’t overly comfortable with that early technology. She spent several years as a volunteer storyteller at schools in Anchorage, Alaska, and in Vacaville, California. She last enjoyed sharing stories at the Lakeside Elementary School in Lakeside, Montana. She loved children’s books and had a collection of her own. She loved spending her time with children. Music was her other great interest. While in Canada, she took piano lessons and at one point, her teacher told the family that Pat had the potential to become a concert pianist. She also accompanied her classmates playing the piano for a number of their musical performances. She played a classical piece on the local radio station one Saturday morning in Eugene. They recorded it for her. She enjoyed her piano at home in retirement and could read complicated music until illness made it impossible. Pat was preceded in death by her parents, her aunt, Iola, and other Canadian relatives. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Andy; her three sons, Timothy of Tucson, Arizona, Michael of Silver City, New Mexico, and Christopher of Tempe, Arizona and twin grandsons Connor and Logan, sons of Christopher and his wife, Kristin, and grandson Jason, son of Timothy. She still has some remaining cousins in Oregon and other relatives in Canada. Pat always considered her years growing up in Healdsburg as some of her happiest with some dear friends. She enjoyed music programs under Smitty’s direction at a Healdsburg church. She recalled summers picking fruit at the Dick’s orchard. She learned to swim in the Russian River, finding it intimidating, but she later swam in Flathead Lake and Lake Tahoe. She enjoyed school performances with Mrs. Uboldi and her fellow students. The family wishes to thank those friends and neighbors who have given their time and skills to make Pat’s final time better with their gifts of visits, calls, food, support and attention. The family wishes to thank Home Options Hospice personnel for their care: especially Penny and Sue. A special thanks to Christine of Home Options Private Care who has been an invaluable support to Pat and her family for the last several years. At her request, there will be no services. There will be a family celebration of her life at a later date in the Southwest. There is also hope for a celebration in the Flathead Valley area at a later time. Memorials are suggested to a charity of the donor’s choice. And, please, if you wish, take a moment in your day to remember Pat.